I also think that there are reasons to not purchase art, especially using hotel/motel tax funds. Hotel/motel tax funds are designated for endeavors that will promote and enhance tourism in the city. These funds are often used to run visitor's centers, advertising campaigns, and city beautification projects. Occasionally, I suppose, public art falls under that last category. For example, Renee O'Connor's lovely tiles in the sidewalk in Long Beach - they have a historical message and are beautiful and I think they enhance the tourist experience. But sometimes, art for art's sake just doesn't work for me. And the whole town of Mount Vernon is up in arms over what I (and many people) think is a particularly ugly and inappropriate piece of installation art for which the city paid $30,000 in hotel/motel tax funds and then decided to put in front of the building in which I work. Why here? Because the downtown association thought it was too ugly to put downtown, and the Mayor did not want it in the part across from his office because he didn't want to look at it every day, either.
So, what comes to mind when you see our lovely new sculpture?
I think it looks like sperm. And so do lots of other people. Notice that it is white. We are taking bets on how long it will be before it is tagged with graffiti. You know, since it now lives outside of the freakin' bus station.
Fortunately for Mount Vernon, we are not short on creativity, and this has sparked a new interest in coming up with a "fresh" slogan for Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon: We've got the biggest balls of them all
Mount Vernon: Get it on!
Mount Vernon: Come rub our balls
I just don't get it. How does this giant sculpture (which, by the way, the artist has been trying to sell since 1999 and didn't have any takers until he found some suckers on our city council, who did as many politicians do and didn't listen to the constituency - basically the entire town - when we said that we didn't want to buy this monstrosity) attract tourists or enhance their tourism experience?
All I can say is that I think I am going to go kick Mount Vernon in the balls when I leave work today.